Reviews for Clock dance : a novel

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Having survived an abusive mother and a father she compares to Gandhi, Willa Drake struggles to find meaning in a life without direction or purpose. She marries before finishing college and raises two sons before finally completing her degree. Her first husband is killed in a road rage accident just as her boys begin to exit into their own adult lives, and after marrying a second time, she ends up a golf widow in Arizona. Out of the blue, she receives a phone call about the ex-girlfriend of her older son, who has been shot and needs childcare for her nine-year-old daughter (not Willa's granddaughter). Soon, Willa finds herself in a closely knit, blue-collar Baltimore neighborhood. Welcomed by the people there, she discovers a little girl aching for a grandmother, a crying need in the community for her time and talents, and, finally, what's missing in her life. Pulitzer Prize winner Tyler (A Spool of Blue Thread) does not disappoint. Her characters are distinctly drawn and their stories layered like a Venn diagram over the central character. The result is a compelling look at the need for relevance, being offered a second chance, and deciding whether to take it. VERDICT Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 2/26/18.]-Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Tyler, a master of homey enchantment and sly social evisceration whose storytelling finesse has propelled more than 20 novels including A Spool of Blue Thread (2015) and her clever contribution to the Hogarth Shakespeare series, Vinegar Girl (2016) now delivers an especially lithe and enlivening tale. Willa Drake is a sensitive, patient, and determined 11-year-old in 1967, with a gentle father and a mercurial and wounding mother. In this ensnaring novel's first half, Tyler ticktocks through Willa's life as she becomes a college student, a wife and mother of two sons in California, a young widow, and a new wife to a golf-loving, semiretired executive in Arizona. Willa is neat, sweet, pretty, and gracefully acquiescent, until she receives a phone call from Baltimore, where Denise, a betrayed ex-girlfriend of Willa's older son, is in the hospital after an accidental shooting, leaving her young daughter and dog alone in their humble home. There is no tie between them, yet Willa feels summoned, and then, as she makes herself useful on a funky city block among motley, struggling, warmhearted neighbors, she feels needed. And liberated. Tyler's bedazzling yet fathoms-deep feel-good novel is wrought with nimble humor, intricate understanding of emotions and family, place and community and bounteous pleasure in quirkiness, discovery, and renewal. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Quintessential Tyler, this brilliant, charming, and book-club-ready novel of quiet transformation will be heralded with a major promotional campaign.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2018 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Pulitzer winner Tyler (following A Spool of Blue Thread) takes a bittersweet, hope-filled look at two quirky families that have broken apart and are trying to find their way back to one another. Plaintive Willa is the link between her own fractured Pennsylvania family-rebellious sister Elaine, long-suffering dad Melvin, and "tempestuous" and abusive mom Alice-and that of lonely Baltimore single mom Denise and her precocious, love-starved daughter, Cheryl. The novel's first half follows Willa as she negotiates her troubled teenage years in the 1960s and her 20s and 30s in the '70s, her reluctant marriage to college sweetheart Derek, and her late-in-life second marriage with stuffy retiree Peter. The narrative then jumps to 2017, when Willa gets a breathless call to come to Baltimore to help take care of Cheryl, the young daughter of her son's recent ex-girlfriend, as Cheryl's mom, Denise, recovers from a mysterious shot in the leg. There, Willa settles amiably in a neighborhood of misfits, hooligans, and steely survivors-and explores her own family miseries. The cast of sharply drawn characters dominates in ways both reflective and raucous across a series of emotional events, such as Willa's baffling encounter with a would-be hijacker, a heartbreaking moment with her elderly dad, and the jolting advice she receives from a kindhearted doctor. It's a stellar addition to Tyler's prodigious catalogue. 250,000-copy announced first printing. (July) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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